By Dr. M de Klerk
Many patients with Hashimoto’s have digestive issues. It does not often occur to them that it might be linked to their thyroid disease. Some just accept these gut challenges as the norm.
Recurring diarrhea, stomach pain, gas and bloating are not normal. These symptoms can be resolved quickly with the use of the correct digestive enzyme, and most patients will report back with positive outcomes.
Food consists of different substances, protein, fat and starch, and digestion of any of these could be your challenge. Protein seems to be the most challenging of them all, according to studies.
Deficiency in pancreatic elastase, is often the root of fat malabsorption. Many nutrients and vitamins need to be emulsified in fat to be absorbed. Pancreatic enzymes, together with bile from the gallbladder, mixes in the small intestines to break fats down into tiny droplets that can now be absorbed into the gut. Without adequate bile and pancreatic enzymes, many essential nutrients can be lost and excreted with other wastes in the stool, leading to deficiencies such as fatty acid deficiency.
Also, food will not be digested and can result in the development of food sensitivities and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth due to putrefaction
Pancreatic elastase deficiency can be tested accurately in the stool.
Having a low level of pancreatic elastase can be associated with:
The link between Hashimoto’s and low pancreatic enzymes are as follows:
Thyroid hormone level affect metabolism of all hormones in our bodies as well as all other endocrine glands. Motility of the stomach will be impaired in hypothyroid patients leading to slowing down of the movement of partially digested food and digestive juices. This can cause gas, bloating and other digestive symptoms including overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gut.
Decrease in T4 also slows liver cholesterol metabolism, changing the thickness of the bile, resulting in a decreased fat digestion.
This scenario will lead to a situation of multiple deficiencies in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
In a follow up article to this one, we will discuss the telltale symptoms of a variety of nutritional deficiencies.